WHEN "The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God," and said, "They are all gone aside, they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one," he did not shut them up in the horrible pit, to perish without mercy; but to his Annointed he said: "I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house." Isa. XLII. 6, 7. So the Lord is longsuffering, merciful and gracious unto the children of men, as said Elihu: "Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, 'Deliver him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom." Job XXXIII. 24. "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, thy King cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass. * ** And he shall speak peace unto the heathen; and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. Turn you to the strong bold, ye prisoners of hope; even to-day do I declare that I will render double unto thee. * * * And the Lord their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people; and they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his hand." Zech. IX. O how rich in mercy is our God! for he is the God of salvation.
"When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." Gal. IV. 4, 5. Of this wonderful advent of the beloved Son of God to the earth, John says: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. *** And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." John I. 14, 17. Thus is the Advent of the only begotten Son of God profoundly declared. His Incarnation and Birth was the most marvellous event of time, and of infinite interest to lost men; and second in important wonder to his birth was his Death, and thirdly his Resurrection. Without these three most wonderful events in the universe of God, no flesh could have been saved from sin and death. But God declared to Moses that he would keep mercy for thousands, and forgive sin, iniquity and transgression; therefore, "Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy Salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him." Isa. LXII. 11. "Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy One, and saidst, I have laid help upon One that is mighty; I have exalted One chosen out of the people. I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him: with whom my hand shall be established: mine arm shall also strengthen him. *** He shall cry unto me, Thou are my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Also I will make him my First-born, higher than the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven." Ps. LXXXIX. This David (beloved) or Son of David is the man Christ Jesus, the Son of Abraham and Isaac, David and Mary, and therefore chosen out of the people of Israel; yet he was also the holy Son of God, while he was verily a man, and called himself "the Son of man," but at the same time he dwelt in the bosom of the Father, whom he revealed and declared. This is most wonderful, that the "holy child Jesus" should be one with God and one with men! As a man, Jesus dwelt among men in the days of his flesh, and at the same time he was in heaven and reigned upon the throne of glory! Truly did Paul say, "Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." A most wonderful mystery, that God himself, whom heaven cannot contain, would condescend to bow the heavens and come down to earth, and dwell among men in the likeness of sinful flesh as a man, unto the end that the children of men should be exalted to dwell in heaven with God! This glorious mystery is embraced in the incarnation of the Word, and the holy priesthood of "the man Christ Jesus," whom God made strong for himself, and gave him power or rightful authority to lay down his righteous life, and power to take it up again, according to the commandment of his loving and holy Father. This was in fulfillment of his holy office and consecrated work as the High Priest of all his people.
There was a most solemn and sacred necessity that the Word that was in the beginning with God, and was God, should be made flesh, take upon himself the form of a servant, and be made in the likeness of men, as stated in the following Scripture: "For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for our sins. And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an High Priest; but he that said unto him, Thou are my Son, to-day have I begotten thee." Heb. V. 1-5. For the people whom God gave to the Son of man in the new covenant, that they should be his brethren and be with him in his glory, are the children of men, "partakers of flesh and blood," and so sin and death stood between them and the life of holiness and glory unto which God in his everlasting love had chosen and predestinated them. These enemies must, therefore, be destroyed and taken out of the way; "that we, being delivered out of their hand, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life" — an endless life.
But our Deliverer must come to us in our nature and as our near kinsman, for he must be our Brother in the flesh; yea, he must be one with us, that we should also be one with him in true holiness. In no other way could he be qualified as the High Priest of his people to meet and receive the sword of divine justice, fulfill and satisfy the holy law and redeem them from its curse, suffer and die for their sins, then rise up out of death, above the law and the dominion of sin, justify them unto righteousness, and save them by his life. "For since by man came death," it follows that this penalty of death was against man only, not against angel or spirit; so it is equally true that, "by Man came also the resurrection of the dead." Cor. XV. So it is written: "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor: that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." Heb. II. 9, 10. For in no other way could the sinful people of the covenant of life and peace be made perfect, and "grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life" over them. "For if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law." Gal. III. 21. "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." Gal. 11. 21. "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Rom. VIII. 3, 4.
All this divine testimony fully shows that the Anointed Christ, the one Mediator between God and men, was truly a man in the flesh and the Son of man; that he died in the flesh as a man, and for the children of men; that God raised up from the dead the MAN Christ Jesus, to die no more, and anointed him with the fullness of the Holy Spirit of life and peace the glorious High Priest of all his people forever.
The descent and parentage of the risen, ascended and coronated Son of man, whose name is "Wonderful," will further show the real humanity or manhood of our High Priest unto God, and his true Divinity as well. "The angel Gabriel was sent from God" to a virgin of the royal family of David the king, saying unto her, "Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.*** Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." Luke I. Mary was given faith to joyfully believe this wonderful anunciation, and she said, "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior." More than seven centuries before the time of Mary, a prophet said, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isa. VII. 14. The interpretation of this name is, "God with us." Jesus, his personal name, means the same; that is, Jesus is God with us, for he is the God-Man, or God-and-man in his one person. All the perfect attributes of the incorruptible God and of uncorrupted man were verily his. As well in his manhood as in his eternal Godhood, Jesus was sinless and divinely holy, and is God's "holy child." "Jesus Christ our Lord was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." Rom. 1. 3, 4. it was absolutely necessary that the holy and blessed Jesus should sustain this twofold relationship – to his Father and brethren – and possess all this divine fullness of perfection and power, to constitute him our sufficient and successful Prophet and Priest and King, and bring all his people into the glory and bliss of the Father's presence and love, sanctified and holy, and say, ''Behold I and the children which God hath given me." Unto this merciful purpose and work of full salvation Jesus came. How rich the mercy and divine the blessing, that our God would thus glorify the children of men, in the person and exaltation of the holy Son of man, and make them in and through his Son the children of the Most High! What infinite love that God came to us as Man, that lost men should be saved! This was compassion like the blessed God, and it verifies the ravishing truth that "God is Love!"
The angelic salutation to the mother of Jesus proclaims him King, as well as Priest; for, on his mother's side, he was the Son of David and heir to his throne of Israel, while, on his Father's side, he was the Son of God and heir to his throne of Heaven. This is very wonderful! David was king in Israel, but he could not also be a priest; for the priestly line was in the family of Levi, while the kingly line was in the family of Judah, and so the two sacred offices were distinct. It were death should a king of Israel thrust himself before the Lord in the most holy place of the sanctuary. On the other hand, neither Aaron nor his sons, though consecrated to officiate in the holy office of high priest, could reign upon the throne of Israel.
A very instructive and important lesson is thus taught us; that is, that neither Aaron nor David were complete types of our adorable Priest and King, because neither could represent him in both these divine offices; yet each partially, Aaron as high priest, and David as king. In the complete Bible we shall find a more perfect typical person, therefore, of him "that is born King of the Jews," and was also "the Apostle and High Priest of our profession;" and this better type has God given us in the remarkable person of Melchisedec, who was "king of Salem, priest of the most high God." By interpretation his very name signified "King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually." Heb. VII. 1-3. That is, Melchisedec was the only priest of his order, and therefore he was without descent in his priestly office, and his was an abiding priesthood, in which he was a true type of the Son of God, who abideth a priest forever. Melchisedec was also king of righteousness and peace, and in this he fitly represented the King who reigns in righteousness, even Immanuel, whose "name is called The Word of God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." Rev. XIX. How wonderful was this man Meichisedec as type of the Son of God! At once perfect and alone as both priest and king, no other man in the wonderful Bible so truly personated the man Christ. So it is written of Jesus: "The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Meichisedec." Ps. CX. 4. In Heb. VII, we learn that this man was so great that Abraham paid tithes to him, and that thus did Levi and Aaron and all that priesthood, who received tithes of their brethren, the people of Israel, pay tithes to the better and greater priest in the person of their great patriarch Abraham, who honored Melehisedec as superior to himself. In this we connect Melchisedec with Jesus, who said to the Jews, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. *** Verily, verily, 1 say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM." John, VIII. 56-58.
"If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Meichisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change of the law." Heb. VII. 11, 12. Thus it is very evident that the priesthood of the Son of God belongs to a new and better testament or covenant than the Levitical priesthood, and is entirely different and distinct from it, which difference will be considered hereafter.
A further notice of the fleshly lineal descent of the holy Son of man is of vital interest to all who earnestly desire kindership and union with him, without which we have no representation or interest in his priesthood, for he is the High Priest of his brethren only, and they shall for this reason be joint-heirs with him in all the fullness and blessing of his successful and glorious priesthood. First, then, the precious Redeemer unites in himself the three-one office of Prophet-Priest-King, not as arbitrarily thrust in either, but rightfully, as born unto them. For his genealogy on his royal mother's side, as given in Matt. I, shows that the prophets and priests and kings of Israel united in his "precious blood." Yet his patriarchal line is reckoned from Judah, from whom the scepter should not depart, said the dying Jacob, "until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." The meaning of Shiloh is, "resting-place," and Christ gives rest unto all the people that come to him.
But Jesus is the salvation of God unto the ends of the earth, and Simeon said of the infant Redeemer: "A Light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel." So, though Jesus was born of the Jews, it is equally important and interesting to the Gentiles, to whom God grants repentance unto salvation, to know that no less than four of our Lord's maternal ancestors were Gentile women, whose husbands were sons of Israel, which the record plainly shows David the king, of whom Christ came, was the great-grandson of the interesting Ruth, a daughter of Moab, and beautiful type of the Gentile church. The kings of Jerusalem were likewise descended from the mother of Solomon, a Gentile woman. It will interest the Bible reader to trace the other Gentile women of faith, from whom came our Brother-Redeemer. How wonderful this is, that the man Christ, the Anointed of God, our Prophet and High Priest and King for ever, is our near kinsman in the flesh, though we were lost sinners of the idolatrous Gentile race. In this is seen the riches of God's mercy, and the much more abounding of his grace, reigning by our Lord Jesus Christ. This overflowing of salvation to the Gentiles, who were outside the walls of the first covenant, is beautifully expressed in the typical blessing of the dying Israel upon his son Joseph, saying, "Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well, whose branches run over the wall." So it is indeed true of the spiritual Joseph, whose "bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; from thence is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel. * * * The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors, unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph." Gen. XLIX. "For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell." "And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace."